Carmelites issue statement condemning nuclear weapons

 Carmelites from around the world meeting in Fatima on 6 August, put out a strong message condemning nuclear weapons and violence in all forms. The order has also expressed the hope that the bishops of England and Wales will come out against Trident. The Prior General, Joseph Chalmers was present at the meeting. In their statement, issued on the 61st anniversary of the Hiroshima bombing, friars, sisters and lay members of the International Justice & Peace and Integrity of Creation Commission of the Carmelite Order said: "We Carmelites gathered in Fatima promoting Justice and Peace in a globalised world are present today on the anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima to speak out and to condemn violence in all its forms. We condemn war. the production and use of nuclear weapons and violence committed by one nation against another nation. We promote the teaching expressed in the prophet Isaiah Chapter 2 - "They will beat their swords into ploughshares .... They will train for war no more." "We make this statement in solidarity with the international community and the global call in an effort to achieve peace." A copy of this statement was taken by a group of conference participants to the American Embassy in Lisbon, but Fr Wilfred McGreal O Carm said that the security staff dealt with them "quite roughly" and refused to accept the petition - saying it would have to be sent by post. Fr Wilfred said: "It is a small statement - a plea from the Carmelite family which is not silent on these issues. He added that the Carmelites are totally opposed to the renewal of Trident in the UK and hope the bishops of England and Wales will take the lead in calling for Trident to be dropped. While the Scottish bishops have issued several statements condemning Trident and other nuclear weapons, the Bishops of England and Wales have not yet commented on the issue. Fr Wilfred said: "I think it is important that our bishops are sensitive to using their prophetic office to speak about this. It would be a great help and guidance to the Catholic community and the wider world. Some might say that this would be interfering in politics but an issue such as Trident is not a matter of party politics but a social and moral issue on which the Church has a duty to speak. The Carmelites were recognized as an NGO at the UN two years ago. They still have a community in Baghdad. Representative at Fatima came from all over the world and discussed a range of issues including the situation in Zimbabwe and illegal logging in the Philippines.

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